Earlier this week, Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept announced that the publication would begin gradually released new, as-yet-unseen documents from the Snowden archives. While the most damning and sensational portions of the archive have been released already, the remaining documents provide a window into the day-to-day operations of the NSA, which are downright Arendtian in their banality-of-evil horror:
Today, The Intercept is announcing two innovations in how we report on and publish these materials. Both measures are designed to ensure that reporting on the archive continues in as expeditious and informative a manner as possible, in accordance with the agreements we entered into with our source about how these materials would be disclosed, a framework that he, and we, have publicly described on numerous occasions.
The first measure involves the publication of large batches of documents. We are, beginning today, publishing in installments the NSA’s internal SIDtoday newsletters, which span more than a decade beginning after 9/11. We are starting with the oldest SIDtoday articles, from 2003, and working our way through the most recent in our archive, from 2012. Our first release today contains 166 documents, all from 2003, and we will periodically release batches until we have made public the entire set. The documents are available on a special section of The Intercept.
The SIDtoday documents run a wide gamut: from serious, detailed reports on top secret NSA surveillance programs to breezy, trivial meanderings of analysts’ trips and vacations, with much in between. Many are self-serving and boastful, designed to justify budgets or impress supervisors. Others contain obvious errors or mindless parroting of public source material. But some SIDtoday articles have been the basis of significant revelations from the archive ...
The other innovation is our ability to invite outside journalists, including from foreign media outlets, to work with us to explore the full Snowden archive.
From the start of our reporting on the archive, a major component of our approach has been to partner with foreign (and other American) media outlets rather than try to keep all the material for ourselves. We have collectively shared documents with more than two dozen media outlets, and teams of journalists in numerous countries have thus worked with and reported on Snowden documents (that’s independent of the other media outlets which have long possessed large portions of the Snowden archive — the Washington Post, the New York Times, The Guardian, ProPublica). This partnership approach has greatly expedited the reporting, and also ensured that stories that most affect specific countries are reported by the journalists who best understand those countries.
But allowing other journalists full access to the archive presented security and legal challenges that took time and resources to resolve. We now feel comfortable that we can do so consistent with the responsibility demanded by these materials and our agreement with our source. We have begun to provide archive access to journalists from Le Monde and other media outlets in collaboration with The Intercept’s editorial, research, legal, and technology teams. We are excited by the reporting this new arrangement will generate.
Image of Edward Snowden via Wikipedia.